Modesty Meekness Chastity
The Lessons We Learn From Our
Associations with Abraham And Sarah
By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk
Dean of Jewish Studies
B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC
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Dear Friends, Our introduction began with 'perhaps we may wonder why we have issues at home, at work, with our spouse, our children our parents, and with people we think are our friends and so forth. There are reasons that we have issues.' The discussion we are entering will ask this question. Are those whom we associate with Tzniut?
For years I have been writing a book about Soulmates. Individuals seeking their Soulmate often have a list of what qualities they are seeking. Having a list of qualities is good. One knows what they want. However, there is often an issue. The individual seeking a Soulmate fails to look in the mirror. Sometimes when one is seeking their Soulmate they fail to look at themself. One must consider, how will the Soulmate I am seeking view me? Am I the individual that will meet her / his list of standards.
The point is that when it comes to Tzniut, The Torah requires each of us to have standards. Tzniut standards apply to us as well as our associations. The Torah offers some guidance that will help us live Tzniut. We will need to be honest with ourself. We will need to consider our actions and the actions of our associates.
In the Introduction, I stated, 'The base of our issues has to do with our relationship with The Lord God. How we live and how we present ourselves is a choice. Perhaps I should say, How one lives needs to be a choice. It is so important for us to understand we have the power of choice. Sometimes our choices are not as many as we would like, however, we always have the power of choice.
In the introduction, we discussed Adam's Passivity. Remember, Adam set back allowing issues to begin and to develop. Adam chose not to stand up. Adam chose to be irresponsible. Adam chose not to accept the responsibilities given to him by The Lord God. Adam was appointed King and ruler of the earth. Adam was placed in The Garden of Eden to protect it from the serpent. Adam was given Seven Instructions to follow by The Lord God. Adam was given a beautiful place to live. Adam was given a beautiful wife Eve, as his lifetime partner to share life. Adam was given children.
Dear Reader, Adam's choice was to be passive. Adam chose to let things happen without interfering. Adam chose to let the chips fall where they may. Adam did not follow the Path of The Torah. The Torah requires us to make positive choices. Adam did not touch the steering wheel of his life so to speak. Adam allowed his life to wander without following the guidance of The Torah. Adam chose to ignore and reject The Observances given to us by The Lord God. Adam did not guard The Garden from the serpent. Adam did not rule. Adam did not offer guidance to his wife, Eve. He did not take charge over the serpent. Adam did not object to Eve's mischaracterization of what the Lord God Commanded. Adam understood the teaching of the Lord God, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it.'
Each of us has been impacted by Adam being passive. Our world is a different place because Adam failed. We are the children of Adam and Eve. We face issues because of our parents failings. We suffer because of Adam and Eve made some poor choices.
Some of us have children and perhaps grandchildren. If we have children or grandchildren, we should want the best for them. I say, 'we should want the best for them' but sometimes our actions collide with what we want for our children and grandchildren. We should want our children to have virtue. We should want our children to have standards. We should want our children to have self-esteem. Again, we must look at ourselves in the mirror. Are we like the individual seeking high standards for a future Soulmate but we do not abide by the same standards? Are we the parent that seeks high standards for our children but not for ourselves?
Some of us send our children and grandchildren to a Torah Day School. Good! We want our children have a better life than we had. Good! However, we must seek the same values and standards for ourselves. What did The Lord God Say about Abraham?
'For I know [Abraham]. He will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of The Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him.'
Later we are going to discuss why and how Abraham was blessed in everything.
We have a responsibility to command our children in keeping and maintaining the Way of The Lord. One of the Seven Universal Laws in Genesis 2.16 comes from The Word Lay Moor, meaning לֵאמֹר 'To Say.' Before anyone can learn The Torah in their home, the home MUST be prepared to receive The Torah. How does one prepare the ceiling, walls and floor to receive The Torah? Tzniut!
In a similar way, the Heavens are our ceiling and the earth is our floor. On three separate occasions Moses, Our Teacher said, 'I call heaven and earth to witness, Deut. 4.26. ' I call heaven and earth to record,' Deut. 30.19. 'call heaven and earth to witness, Deut. 31.28. Our ceiling, walls and floor bear witness to how we conduct ourselves behind closed doors. Our ceiling, walls, and floor record our deeds.
Abraham lived in a tent. One can stand fifty feet away from a tent and listen to conversations. What about our homes. What will neighbors hear? A lesson in being Tzniut is that one ALWAYS lives in the Presence of The Lord God. Remember What The Lord Testified to regarding Abraham? 'I know Abraham. I know Abraham will command his children and his household after him.' The Lord used Abraham as a standard. The Lord Said, 'He will command his children and his household after him. In other words, Abraham was the living Torah. Every action was a reflection of The Torah. Not only did the ceiling, walls, and floors of Abraham's tent speak, The Lord Spoke about the high standard of Abraham's Tzniut.
What should parents do when they see their child making a mistake? What do government officials do when they see us break The law? What should one's spouse do when they see their soulmate wandering from the direction of The Torah? What did Adam do when he saw Eve wander from The Truth? Adam did nothing. Adam chose to be passive. Adam was punished for not keeping ALL The Observances given to him by the Lord God.
The point is that The Lord God has given each of us Torah Observances to help guide us in being a modest, humble, discrete individual distinguished by virtuous characteristics. Our responsibility is to choose to learn and abide by The Observances given to us by The Lord God.
How we take care of ourselves depends upon how well we Observe The Torah. Respect, appreciation, regard, value and esteem are each products of observing The Torah. The Torah Teaches us that we have potential. Are we living up to our potential?
Our issues stem from the human side of us. Each day we must contend with our human side. I said, 'MUST CONTEND' because each day requires us to make choices. In this Weeks Parshat, we are going to review Abraham's associations. We are also going to tie our Spirituality to Tzniut.
Let's begin by noting what Isaiah wrote, ' I will greatly rejoice in The Lord. My soul shall be joyful in My God. [Why?] For He Has Clothed me with the garments of salvation, He Has Covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61.10.
What is Isaiah sharing with us? Isaiah is sharing about his Spirituality. Isaiah is Teaching us about Spiritual garments The Lord clothes and covers us. The Observances of The Torah clothe and cover us when we Observe them. The concept of being Tzniut is to cover ourselves Spiritually with Mitzvot and Physically with clothing that is appropriate, proper and suitable for every circumstance.
The Zohar writes, 'The righteous are illumined by the reflection of that supernal resplendency, and on each New Moon The Glory of the Shekinah as revealed in that firmament transcends that of other times. All the righteous then approach and prostrate themselves before [The Shekinah of The Lord God]. Happy is the portion of whoever is found worthy of those garments wherein the righteous are clad in the Garden of Eden. Those garments are made out of the good deeds performed by a man in this world in obedience to the commands of The Torah.' Zohar 210 a - b
We read that Observance of The Torah and good deeds surround us like a garment. This is the tzniut garment each of us should greatly desire to wear. It is important for us to understand the bridge between Observing The Mitzvot of The Torah and doing good deeds, as being a Spiritual Covering. The point is that being Tzniut is not just about just how one clothes their body. Tzniut is also about laboring to 'do good deeds in this world and in obedience to The Commands of The Torah.'
I have shared this connection to being Tzniut because our associations greatly impact our desire to please and serve The Lord God. Our Parshat begins with The Lord Instructing Abram to alter his associations. Why? The influence from Abram's associations was hampering his Spirituality.
I realize we may be stuck with associations we would rather not have. Abram and Sarai had to endure the wicked, biased ruler Nimrod. Terach, the father of Abram and Sarai, was an idol maker and worshiper. Lot attached himself to Abraham. Sarah was the captive of Pharoah and Abimelech. Isaac and Rebecca were close neighbors with the idolatrous wives of their son, Esau. Jacob's brother Esau was an association he had to flee from to protect himself. Jacob's father-in-law, Laven was evil. Deenah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, was kidnapped and raped. Difficult and challenging associations do exist. David wrote, 'It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes. The Torah of Your Mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver. Psalms 119.71 - 72.
We should not use difficult associations that are imposed upon us as an excuse because Abram, Sarai, Issac, Rebecca, Jacob, Deenah showed us how to face those. We will consider a few difficult associations during our discussion.
Genesis 26.24 - 35
And Esau was forty years old when he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, And they were sources of Spiritual bitterness for Isaac and Rebekah.
Esau married the daughters of Canaanites that Abraham forbid his servant, Eliezer to take as a wife for his son, Isaac, Genesis 24.3.
Marriage is a very strong association. Esau's marriage to Canaanite wives impacted Isaac and Rebekah. Rabbi Moshe Weissman, The Midrash Says Beraishis (Brooklyn, New York: Benei Yakov Publications 1980), p 255.
When one associates, i.e. marries the wrong individual it impacts them, their parents and relatives. Isaac and Rebekah suffered because of Esau's wives.
And Rebekah said to Isaac, 'I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Cheth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Cheth, such as these who are of the daughters of the land, [i.e. Cannanites] what good shall my life be to me?'
And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and commanded him, and said to him, 'You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.'
We see the struggles Isaac and Rebecca faced each day because of the idolatrous daughters of Cheth. It was unpleasant for Isaac and Rebecca yet they endured. It impacted their health yet they endured. Isaac and Rebecca continued with their Observances of the Torah. Isaac tried to learn The Torah with his son, Esau.
Dear Friends, children reach an age where they choose to follow The Torah or choose to forsake The Torah, God Forbid. Isaac and Rebecca were righteous individuals. They sent both of their sons to learn at the Academy of Shem and Eiver. They had a righteous home. They set an atmosphere of learning in their home as they learned from Abraham. Yet, Esau became evil. We must understand the power of individual choice. We are not robots. We have a Yetzer Tov / A Good Inclination and a Yetzer Raw / Evil inclination that we battle with everyday.
People change. Sometimes people change for the good, and sometimes people change for evil. We can offer guidance. We can point them in the direction of Torah Observance, but each person makes their choices. There are times when divorce becomes necessary for a variety of reasons.
Genesis 12.1 - 6
And The Lord [HAD] Said to Abram, Get out from your country, and from your family, and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. And I Will Bless those who bless you, and Curse him who curses you; and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as The Lord Had Spoken to him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Charan. And Abram took Sarai, his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Charan; and they went forth to go to the land of Canaan, and to the land of Canaan they came.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֶל־אַבְרָם לֶךְ־לְךָ
And He, The Lord Said to Abram, 'Go! Get out!'
An understanding of the words spoken to Avram by The Lord results in some translators including the word 'had' in their translations. They translate, 'And The Lord [HAD] Said to Abram.' The word had is not written in Hebrew. The Word had is implied by The Words לֶךְ־לְךָ Lech Leh Chaw meaning 'Go! Get out!' Abram was to go to the land of Eretz Cannan. We do not know the exact date The Lord God Instructed Abram to go. However, we know Abram was 70 years old in Genesis Chapter 15. How do we know this?
[And The Lord God] Said to Abram, 'Know for a certainty that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.'
2048 From Creation
Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old. This is when the 400-year count begins. How do we know this? The Scripture your ' your seed'. Isaac and Ishmael were both Abraham's seed. We know The Holy Scripture is speaking of Abram's seed through Isaac because they were strangers and afflicted from the time Isaac was born. The same is not reported of Ishmael.
2018 From Creation
We know Abram was 70 years old at the time of the prophecy in Genesis 15 because of what is written in Exodus 12.
And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even on that very day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
The 430-year count began at Passover on 2018 From Creation. Abram was Seventy years old. The Holy Scripture emphasizes 'That Very Day'. The Midrash informs us that Abram called for public assemblies to proclaim the Truth to B'nai Noachides, i.e. the people of the world after the flood. Abram authored books dennouncing idolarty and idolatrious practices. Abram traveled back and forth between Eretz Canaan and Charan until The Lord Instructed him to move permanently to Eretz Canaan in 2023 From Creation at the age of Seventy-Five. Abram gained tens of thousands of followers. Rabbi Moshe Weissman, The Midrash Says Beraishis (Brooklyn, New York: Benei Yakov Publications 1980), p 125.
These Associations of Abram and his descendants being afflicted and serving were associations that were Prophesied in Holy Scripture. The Lord God Speaks Words of Prophecy from His foreknowledge of events. In other words, The Lord God Knows in advance the results of the choices we will make. The Lord God Shares His Foreknowledge with Abram.
So we know Abram was in Eretz Cannan when he was Seventy Years of age. We know Abram returned to Haran because The Holy Scriptures speak of Abram leaving at the age of Seventy-five. This was the second time Abram left Haran. The second time is noted as לְךָ Leh Chaw, 'Get Out' which is more forceful. The second time specifies, 'Get out from your country, and from your family, and from your father's house.'
There are strict interpretations of The Holy Scriptures, and there are lenient and interpretations of The Holy Scriptures. Sometimes it is necessary to be very specific regarding what is the intended meaning to avoid misunderstandings. The Lord was being specific with Abram in Genesis 12.1 for a reason. Our Sages teach that the first time The Lord Instructed Abram to go that he left from Mesopotamia. There is a reference to this.
Abram was reluctant to leave his father, Terach. The Torah Requires children to care for their parents. This caring for our parents is one way we honor our parents. Abram was concerned about His Torah obligation to honor his father. Abram was conscientious with Observing all Mitzvot of The Torah. It is for this reason and others that the Lord was specific with Abram.
Abrams father, Terach was an idol maker. This is not a good association. The Lord is Teaching us that there are times one may not associate with parents and relatives. So, on one hand we are required to honor and care for our parents, but on the other hand not at the expense of being subjected to idol worship or the doctrines of other religions. There is another message. Associations that oppose Observances of The Torah are similar to Terach. We need to separate from them and limit our contact with them, even when the evil influence is from our parents or relatives.
[And The Lord God] said to [Abram], I am The Lord who brought you out of מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים Ur [from the fire] of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.
מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים May Oor Cah Sih Deem means from the fire of Chaldean. Abram was thrown into a firey furnance by king Nimrod. Why do translators say Ur of the Chaldeans instead The furnaces of Chaldeans? The Midrash shares the following Story:
Terach's business was the sale of idols, and the young Avram did his best to convince people not to buy them. Once it happened that his father, Terach, had to go on a trip. He left Avram in charge of his store. His instructions to his son were, 'The bigger the god, the higher the price you charge. If an important person comes in, offer him a big idol; to a lesser customer, give a smaller one.' Terach left.
An impressive-looking broad-shouldered man entered the store. He spoke to Abram, 'Give me a big idol that befits my status!' Avram handed him the largest idol he could find on the shelves, and the man drew a substantial amount of money from his pocket.
'How old are you?' Avram questioned him.
'I am fifty years old,' the man stated.
Abram questioned, 'Why aren't you ashamed to worship a god that is only one day old? My father just made this idol yesterday!' Confused, the man put the money back in his pocket and left.
An old woman entered. She told Avram that thieves had invaded her house during the previous night and stolen her gods.
'Is that so?' Avram asked. 'If your gods were unable to protect themselves from the robbers, how do you expect them to protect you?'
'You are right,' the older woman admitted. 'But whom shall we serve?'
'The God of Heaven and earth who made you and me,' Avram answered.
The older woman left without buying a god.
Another woman came with a bowl full of flour as an offering for the gods. After she left Avram took an ax and smashed all the idols except the biggest. He placed the ax leaning against the big idol. When Terach returned and saw the havoc in the house, he screamed angrily, 'What happened here?'
'Why should I conceal the truth from you?' answered Avram.
'While you were away, a woman brought some flour as an offering. Each god exclaimed that he wanted to be the first to have it. The biggest was insulted, so he seized an ax and broke all the others!'
'Nonsense!' shouted Terach. 'You know very well that these idols neither speak nor move around.'
Avram responded, 'Is that so? Think about what you just said. Why do you serve them?'
One day it was Terach's turn to conduct the services before the gods in Nimrod's royal palace. Terach took Avram along to the capital. They arrived in Nimrod's palace and found it to contain a large exhibition of gods in gold, silver, copper, wood, and stone.
Terach brought bread and wine and offered them to the gods. [Abram sneered] 'Take them, eat, and drink, and be appeased.' None of the idols moved or answered with a sound.
'You see, they are not worth anything,' Avram remarked.
He threw all the idols down and shoved them together in a pile. Then he set fire to them and hurriedly fled from the palace.
This could not be ignored any longer. Terach himself, a loyal subject of King Nimrod, reported his son's misdemeanor to the king.
Avram had successfully passed the first trial. He had applied his mind to recognize his Creator and had rejected idol worship. Abram was arrested and placed in prison.
Nimrod commanded his soldiers to bring Avram to the palace. Avram was taken to Nimrod.
Nimrod sat on top of his throne which was an artistic creation placed high on top of a spiraling tower comprised of seven different materials. Whoever approached it had to prostrate before the king. Avram was brought in and stood erect. Nimrod questioned,
'Are you Avram, son of Terach?'
Abram annswered, 'I am.'
Nimrod stated to Abram, 'You are the traitor who had the audacity to burn my gods. Don't you know that I am the master of all creation? Sun, moon, and stars obey me!'
'Excuse me!' said Avram, 'This is new to me. Let me make only one request and I will believe what you say.'
Nimrod said, 'State your request!'
Abram said, 'The sun rises daily in the east and sets in the west. Command that tomorrow it rise in the west and set in the east!' All ministers and nobles expectantly looked at the king. But Nimrod was strangely silent. 'Perhaps you can fulfill a different request of mine,' Avram persisted. 'Reveal to me what my thoughts at this moment are and what I am about to do next.' There was complete silence in the palace as all eyes were turned towards the young man who had the courage to challenge the king. Nimrod was stupefied. No one had ever dared to use such words in his presence. 'Do not act so amazed,' Abram said. 'You are no god! You are a descendant of Kush. And if you deny it, how is it that you were not able to save your father from death? The truth is that just as you could not save your father from death, so you could not save yourself either. You are not an immortal being!'
Avram raised his eyes to Heaven and exclaimed, 'Lord, see the wicked and judge them.'
Nimrod by this time had composed himself. 'Soldiers,' he ordered, 'Immediate imprisonment for this rebel!' The soldiers rushed forward, bound Avram in chains and led him away. Avram was thrown into the dungeon. He was held a prisoner for a full ten years. Yet, his belief in The Lord did not waver. Later Avram is returned to Nimrod.
Nimrod said, 'Let us worship the fire!'
Avram countered, 'Let us rather worship water, which extinguishes the fire.'
Nimrod agreed, 'Then, let us worship water!'
Avram objected, 'Let us rather worship the clouds that bear the water.'
'Fine!' said Nimrod, 'Then let us worship the clouds!'
Avram objected again, 'Let us rather worship the winds that disperse the clouds.'
Nimrod agreed, 'Then let us worship the wind!'
Avraham said, 'Let us rather worship human beings, who withstand the wind.'
Nimrod said, 'You are just bandying words! We will worship none, but the fire. Behold, I will cast you into the fire, and let your God whom you adore come and save you from the fire.' Now, Charan, Abram's brother was standing there undecided. If Abram is victorious, [thought he], I will say that I am of Abram's belief, while if Nimrod is victorious I will say that I am on Nimrod's side. After Abram had descended into the fiery furnace and [The Lord] saved him, Nimrod asked Charan, 'Of whose belief are you?'
Charan replied, 'Of Abram's,' Immediately Charan was seized and cast him into the fire; his body was scorched, and he died in his father's presence. It is written: 'And Charan died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, בְּאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים in Ur [the fires] of the Chaldeans,' Genesis 11.28. Rabbi Moshe Weissman, The Midrash Says Beraishis (Brooklyn, New York: Benei Yakov Publications 1980), pp 119 - 123
Based upon the forementioned stories we can see that Abram suffered because of the associations he had with his father, Terach. At that time, Terach's actions of making idols and promoting idoltry were exteremly evil. Terach's actions were so evil that The Torah pronounces him as dead Sixty Years before he actuallly died. Why? This Holy Scripture Teaches us that an evil person is termed as dead by The Holy Scripture? Terach was dead to the righteous. Abram was not required to show honor to his father who was Spiritually dead.
Proverbs 2.10 - 16
'When wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is precious to your soul; Discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you; To save you from the way of the evil man, from the man who speaks perverse things, Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the perverseness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths; To save you from the alien woman, from the stranger who speaks smoothly'
This is in part why, The Lord God Instructed Abram to 'Get out from your country, and from your family, and from your father's house.'
Abram had already departed from the place of his birth, i.e. his country, Abram had already departed from his relatives. Now, Abram was instructed to depart from his Spiritually dead father, Terach, Genesis 11.28 - 31.
The Lord Makes a promise to Abram. To comprehend the promise The Lord God Makes to Abram it is important to understand The Letter ו Vav. The function of The Letter וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה Vav is to connect two Words, two Scriptures two stories two chapters, etc. together. It is important to comprehend that Abrams promised Blessings are each connected to 'Get out from your country, and from your family, and from your father's house.' Notice:
'וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל
'And I will make of you a great nation.'
'And I will bless you.'
'And I will Make your Name great.'
'And you will be a Blessing.'
'And I Will Bless those who bless you.'
'And I will Curse those that curse you.'
וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה
'And Bless all families of the earth through you.'
Please note that the Letter ו Vav begins each of these promises from The Lord. In other Words, every promise was Dependant on Abram separating from his place of birth, his relatives, and his father. Abram did as The Lord Instructed him. The Lord Did as he promised Abram.
2088 From Creation - Abraham is 140 years old.
And Abraham was old and well advanced in age, and The Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
2033 From Creation - Avram is 85 years old. Genesis 14.14 occures before Abram is married to Hagar. Genesis 14 occurs sometime before 2033 From Creation. It is important for us to comprehend the signifance of what The Holy Scripture is Stating here. Let's consider Avram's status before age 85.
And when Abram heard that his brother's son was taken captive, he armed everything from Aleph to Tav of his trained servants, who were born in his household, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them to Dan.
The Words אֶת־חֲנִיכָיו Et Chah Nee Chaw mean everything from Aleph to Tav of his trained servants. Please carefully notice what The Torah is informing us. The 318 trained Servants were born in Avram's house. We do not know how old the 318 trained Servants were. However, we know that Abram followed The Torah. The Torah numbered men for war from the age of twenty and upward, Exodus 30.14. We also know that Simon was the age of 12 / 13 and Levi was the age 11 /12 when they adjudicated the kidnapping and rape of their sister Deenah by Prince Shechem in Genesis 34. We also note that The Torah States, 'And Abram took Sarai, his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Charan; and they went forth to go to the land of Canaan; and to the land of Canaan they came.'
There are several points we know. We know this had happened before Abram was 85 years of age. We know that both Genesis 15 and 14.14 occured on Passover. We know that there is a Fifteen Year span between Genesis15 and Genesis 14.14. We know Abram was a maggid, i.e. an Evangelist, who traveled between Eretz Cannan and Charan Teaching Mitzvot of The Torah. We know Abram had many followers. We know many souls followed Abram from Charan to Eretz Cannan. We know that during the 15 years 318 Male children were born in his house between the ages of 11 and 14. They cannot be older that 14 because the span of time is 15 years.
We are now going consider some basic numbers based on the above information.
It is likely an equal number of female children were also born to about 122 couples. Perhaps 2,282 children between the ages of 6 to 10 were born to 312 couples and perhaps 5,240 children between the ages of an infant to 5 were born to 707 couples. These numbers are based on each couple having only four children, i.e. two males and two females. Based on these numbers the estimated number of people that became part of Abram's household between the age of 70 years to 85 years are 9,299 people.
The number of couples joining Abram's Household grew at about 20% each year for 15 years. This is a guess based upon the information we have. The point to this exercise is to show the vast wealth Abram had.
Remember the population in 1657 From Creation immediately was only ten people. Only Three couples were physically able to bear children. The population in Abram's time was perhaps 600,000. This means about 1.5% of the earth's population was part of Abram's household. This would be like a household of 10,500,000 in 5776 From Creation, i.e. today. So when The Torah Says Abram was blessed in everything, we can only imagine the vastness of the Blessing. Our important responsibility is to remember The ו Vav's that connect the Blessings to our responsibilities. The Lord Blessed Abram because he obeyed. Abram believed The Lord. Each of us can walk in Abram's steps. It's up to us.
There are several other associations. Abram was forced to go down to Egypt, which forced His wife, Sarai into an unwanted association with Pharaoh and his Officers.
Abram associated with his Nephew Lot because Lot's father, Charan died in the fiery furnace of Chaldean. Abram felt compassionate towards his nephew even though they did not see eye to eye. Abram spoke kindly with Lot about the disagreements their herdsmen were having. Eventually, Abram determines he must separate from Lot. Shalom Bayit, i.e. Peace in The House is important. Lot and his herdsmen were the sources of discord. Even though Abram wanted to continue a loving relationship, Lot's servants were not of the same mind set.
The same could be said about Abram's association with his servant-wife, Haggar and their son Ishmael. Abram did not like his wife, Sarai's demand. Sarai ordered Abram, 'Cast out this slave and her son; for the son of this slave shall not be heir with my son, with Isaac,' Genesis 21.10. Haggar and Ishmael deliberately created issues between Abram and Sarai. All members of a household need to focus on peaceful relationships. When the tranquility of one's home is disrupted by relatives and friends who disagree with family rules and policies, perhaps it is time to request that they leave. The Lord God Values Shalom Bayit. This is in part why He Instructed Abraham to listen to the voice of his wife, Sarai.
Perhaps the greatest association in Abraham's life was when he built the altar to The Lord. I discuss this in Chapter Three of Gematria in Genesis.
The following Scriptures describe wonderful traits of Abraham.
Malachi 2.5 - 7
My covenant was with him for life and peace, and I gave them to him for the fear with which he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The Torah of Truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many away from iniquity. For the priest's lips should guard knowledge, and they should seek The Torah from his mouth; for he is a messenger of The Lord of Hosts.
Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile.
O Lord, open you my lips; and my mouth shall declare your praise.
The wise in heart shall be called prudent, and the sweetness of the lips increases learning.
Proverbs 16.20 - 24
He who considers his words shall find good; and happy is he who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart shall be called prudent, and the sweetness of the lips increases learning. Intelligence is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the chastisement of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise; and he who closes his lips is considered a man of understanding.
There are gold and a multitude of rubies, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
What is the point? Abraham had an association with The Lord God that impacted how he lived every breath. We can learn from Abraham how to love and serve The Lord and Observe The Torah of Truth if we choose to do so. It is our individual choice. We observe there is incentive in making the right choices. The Blessings of Abraham are available to us. The Lord Said, 'I Will Bless them that Bless you,' Genesis 12.3. In other words the Lord is informing us that it is His will for us to be blessed.
Remember when we discussed Genesis 18.19. Thousands of years later Abraham still commands his children, i.e. his descendants even in our time to follow after him and to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; so that The Lord May bring upon Abraham and his descendants all that He Has Spoken of him. The Torah is NOT making reference to those who are ONLY Jewish. At the Time The Lord Spoke, these in Words Genesis 18.19 Isaac was not born. There was only Ishmael and the 9,299 followers of Abraham. They were the members of his household. None of them were Jewish!! Therefore, we know the Scripture is prophetic. Scripture includes those who were then in Abraham's household and those who are his children.
We began by sharing being Tzniut is both Spiritual and Physical. The same principle holds true here. While everyone is not a physical descendant of Abraham many may choose to be Spiritual descendants of Abraham. They will not be Jewish. That's OK. We need individuals who are not Jewish to follow The Observances in The Torah that The Lord established as universal Observances from the beginning.
May The Lord Bless all who learn and Observe The Torah.